Strengthen 10th Schedule, penalize threats to women online: Private Member’s Bills in RS

Empowering state legislatures to establish one or more capitals in a state’s territory, strengthening the 10th schedule of the Constitution, discouraging horse-trading, penalizing threats to women on social media — these were among the several Private Member’s Bills that were introduced in Rajya Sabha on Friday.

V Vijayasai Reddy of the YSRCP introduced the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2022 (insertion of new article 3A) to provide state legislatures with explicit legislative competence to establish one or more capitals within their territory. His party’s government had plans to develop three capitals for Andhra Pradesh.

The Andhra Pradesh Assembly had passed Bills in 2020 to establish Visakhapatnam as the executive capital of the state and Amaravati and Kurnool as the legislative and judicial capitals. Last year, the government repealed the two laws, with Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy promising to introduce a “better” and “comprehensive” Bill after plugging loopholes in the previous version.

The AAP’s Raghav Chadha introduced a Bill seeking to amend articles 102 and 191 of the Constitution to make it more stringent by adding a provision which leads to a further disqualification of six years from the date a member is disqualified under the 10th Schedule (anti-defection law).

“Through the introduction of such a provision, the legislators who indulge in horse trading and dishonor the mandate of the electorate shall be debarred from contesting a by-election and getting re-elected,” the statement of objects and reasons of the Bill said.

The Bill also seeks introduction of a provision that states that if an MP or MLA fails to appear within seven days before the Chairman or Speaker of the House when their attendance is sought by the party whip, it shall amount to voluntarily giving up membership of the political party in whose ticket they were elected.

“Due to ambiguous interpretation of voluntary giving up of membership, there has been a steep increase in cases of resort politics at the expense of the taxpayer. This provision lays down clear criteria that will lead to disqualification if a person does not reply to the notice of the Chairman/Speaker,” the Bill said.

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The TMC’s Derek O’Brien introduced a Bill to amend the Information Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2022 to penalize threats to women on social media platforms.

The Bill seeks imprisonment ranging from three to 10 years and fines between Rs 50,000 and Rs 10 lakh for those found guilty of giving “threat of physical violence against a woman, her family or her property, threat of sexual assault, threat to reveal private information” including, but not limited to, her location, place of work and any other relevant detail which can be used to harm her physically or mentally, threat to spread false information about her, threat to question a person’s citizenship or imputation of disloyalty to India, threat of false prosecution and abuse based on religion, caste or sexuality.”

CPI MP Binoy Viswam introduced a Bill titled ‘The Bhagat Singh National Urban Employment Guarantee Bill’ for the formulation of an urban employment guarantee scheme aimed at providing at least 200 days of guaranteed employment every year to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled, semi-skilled or skilled work.

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